The Houston District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has selected Buffalo Bayou Park, Hermann Park’s McGovern Centennial Gardens and MATCH (Midtown Arts and Theatre Center Houston) for its 2017 Development of Distinction Awards. ULI honors public open spaces and developments that exemplify best practices in design, construction, economic viability, healthy places, marketing and management and is modeled after the national Urban Land Institute Global Awards for Excellence and Urban Open Spaces Awards.

“The McGovern Centennial Gardens and Buffalo Bayou Park have undergone remarkable transformations,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “They are beautiful places to experience the beauty of Mother Nature right in the heart of the city. The MATCH facility fills a very different need. This facility brings together a diverse group of smaller local arts organizations in one central location, thus creating increased opportunities for collaboration and synergy while also improving access for arts patrons.”

MATCH (Midtown Arts and Theatre Center Houston) (Nonprofit Winner)

The cultural anchor for Midtown was designed to meet the needs of Houston’s 540 cultural arts groups. With 46,000 square-feet of indoor and outdoor multi-use theatrical and exhibition space including four theatres, the MATCH facility was designed with the organization’s mission of neighborhood revitalization by working with amenities such as easily-accessible public transportation and walkability of the surrounding landscape.

Buffalo Bayou Park (Urban Open Space Finalist)

The 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park was developed by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the City of Houston. With bike and pedestrian bridges that provide physical access and visual connection to the bayou while respecting Houston’s floodplain, the project transformed this under-maintained corridor into one of the country’s leading parks. The park is a desirable recreational amenity for real estate developers and park visitors alike. Its scenic natural setting attracts thousands of tourists since it neighbors many of Houston’s cultural, historic and culinary offerings.

McGovern Centennial Gardens (Urban Open Space Finalist)

McGovern Centennial Gardens is a new public garden in Hermann Park that was developed by the Hermann Park Conservancy. The public-private project culminates the Conservancy’s 20 year redevelopment with a carefully curated 15-acre site that provides a unique visual experience with educational opportunities including edible gardening and healthy eating classes in collaboration with community organizations. Adjacent to well-established Houston destinations and the Museum District, the Gardens provide a multi-sensory experience for Hermann Park visitors by successfully creating pedestrian and visual connectivity between the park and its surrounding environment.

The 2017 ULI Development of Distinction finalists were selected by a panel of Houston real estate leaders. A jury of three national real estate experts then travelled to Houston last November to select the 2017 winners.

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